Review of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave # 1)  by Rick Yancey

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 / 480 pgs.

Genres: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction

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After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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Book Blitz for Day Zero (The Zero Trilogy # 1) + Author Guest Post & Giveaway

If you’re a fan of Summer Day’s post-apocalyptic Collapse series, then you don’t want to miss her new novella companion series called The Zero Trilogy. The first installment was just released and features Elle who also appears in the Collapse series. Today, Ms. Lane is guest blogging with me,  so read on as she explains the factors that went into the creation and shaping of Elle’s character. The blitz-wide giveaway includes lots free books, so be sure to enter for your chance to win!

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Day Zero (The Zero Trilogy # 1)  by Summer Lane

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Publication Date: October 10, 2014

Genre: YA,  Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia Fiction

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Elle is a survivor.
Since the collapse of modern society, she’s been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.
And then everything changes.
After she is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds is a group of bunker survivors, unlikely comrades, and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the dregs of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.
They are alone, but they are ready.
Day Zero begins today.

Day Zero is a novella, the first installment in The Zero Trilogy, a novella series complementing the international bestselling Collapse Series.

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SummerSummer Lane is the author of the international bestselling Collapse Series, which includes State of Emergency, State of Chaos, State of Rebellion and State of Pursuit. The fifth installment, State of Alliance, is releasing January 2015. Summer is also the author of The Zero Trilogy and an upcoming survivalist/science fantasy series coming in 2015. She owns WB Publishing, Writing Belle Magazine, and is an accomplished creative writing teacher and journalist.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, dates to the movies, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beach.

Author Links.

http://www.summerlaneauthor.com/

https://twitter.com/SummerEllenLane

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 “Creating Elle” 
One of the joys of being a writer is that you get to create new and exciting characters entirely from scratch. Of course, fictional characters are simply made up of bits and pieces of realistic people and personalities, but combining them to make a single, unique protagonist is an awesome task.

Elle is the fifteen year-old protagonist of Day Zero, and will be the starring player in the entire Zero Trilogy. When I began writing the story, I had a very clear picture in my head of who this girl was, and where she came from. I find it helpful to create intricate character backstories – regardless of whether or not those stories make it into the novel. Knowing your characters as well as you know yourself makes them real to the readers.

I built Elle’s appearance and personality around the fact that she had been through serious trouble and tribulation before we get into her head in Day Zero. This is what shaped her character for the book, and it is what carries her through many of her adventurous survival scenarios. I can’t wait to see where Elle’s journey ends up taking her!

*****
Purchase Links
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/day-zero-summer-lane/1120437045?ean=2940150405714

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Blitz-wide Giveaway (INTL)

Dead Girl Walking, by Ruth Silver 

Fractured Dream, by K.M. Randall 

Spirit Warriors: The Scarring by DEL Connor 

Eyes of the Enemy by Kelly Hess 

Jacob, King of Portalia by Casey Club 

Destiny Gift by Juliana Haygert 

Aftershock by Roberta Trahan 

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Related Posts

Release Day: Review & Giveaway for State of Rebellion (Collapse Series # 3) 

Book Blitz for State of Pursuit (Collapse Series # 4) + Author Guest Post & Giveaway

Blog Tour ~ The Rebel Series + Author Guest Post & Giveaway

Today, I’m part of the blog tour for Lance Erlick’s YA Rebels series which features sixteen-year-old Annabelle and her struggle to find her way in a dystopic world ruled by a female-dominated government. Learn more about Annabelle’s character from Mr. Erlick in the featured guest post and enter the giveaway for your chance to win one of two Amazon gift cards!

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Genre: YA, Dystopian Fiction

The Rebel Within (Rebel # 1) 

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Annabelle (16) faces adult dilemmas and a fight for her life. Orphaned at age three when the military took her parents, she’s a tomboy who rebels against her conformist society, which pushes her to become a cop intern to catch escaped boys. Then she’s forced to choose between joining the elite military that took her parents or being torn from her beloved sister and adoptive mom.

The Rebel Within turns our male dominated world upside down. After the Second American Civil War, the Federal Union pursues a utopian society without men by rounding up the remaining males, and enforcing Harmony. Central to their plan is EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors.

In this world, Annabelle faces a cop intern boss who hates her, a military commander who demands too much, and an amazon bully who won’t leave her alone. She meets a handsome boy who escapes prison. As she tries to survive rigorous military training and hunt for her imprisoned birth mother, Annabelle must choose between capturing the boy and helping him escape, while she wrestles with the consequences of her actions.

Goodreads | Amazon:  The Rebel Within (Rebels Book 1)

*****

The Rebel Trap (Rebel # 2)

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Voices in 16-year-old Annabelle’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet.

The Rebel Trap sweeps readers into a haunting world with no privacy. Written as a standalone story, it also follows Annabelle’s adventures from The Rebel Within.

Auditory implants and contact cams allow her military commander from the unit that took her parents to watch her 24-7. A boy she helped to escape hacks her implants to plead for her help. She’s forced to be a cop and military spy investigating her police captain as well as capturing escaped boys. Observed constantly, Annabelle has to dance between helping the escaped boy she likes free his brother from a heavily guarded geek institute, her job to capture him, and the feud between her military commander and the police chief she’s expected to spy on.

A pawn in a bigger game, no one believes she can handle this, which may be her greatest asset.

Goodreads | Amazon:  The Rebel Trap (Rebels Book 2)

*****

Rebels Divided (Rebel # 3) 

perf5.500x8.500.inddRebels Divided is a fun thrill ride written as a standalone action story, but also part of the Rebel series, three years later.

The first time Geo sees Annabelle, they meet as enemies and she doesn’t kill him. That’s worth something. Geo (19) is a rugged frontiersman who hungers to see more of the world than the impoverished Outland glen where he and his pa hide from local Rangers. Annabelle (19) is a tough yet fragile tomboy who lost her parents at age three to the Mech Warriors. Then she’s forced to become a Mech.

After the Second American Civil War, the nation divides into two ‘utopias’. The Federal Union enforces Harmony and an all-female society protected by Mechanized Warriors. The Outland promotes rugged individualism, but Thane Edwards holds a monopoly of power with his Rangers. The Union’s Tenn-tucky governor and the Outland warlord conclude a secret deal, pledging Annabelle to the warlord to provide heirs, and putting a bounty on Geo and his pa.

Hunted by military from both sides, Geo and Annabelle struggle to overcome mutual distrust in order to work together to rescue her sister and gain justice for the murder of his father.

 Goodreads | Amazon: Rebels Divided

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“Don’t be alarmed,” a muted bass voice said directly into my skull.

You know how when someone says think fast, you can’t? My brain scrambled to make sense of this male voice deep inside my head, given that I’d never heard a masculine tone until six weeks ago.

Sandy tugged me forward. “Don’t keep the commander waiting.”

I pulled back. Morgan, what are you doing in my head? It felt like the mech com-link that allowed you to hear another’s projected thoughts. I couldn’t imagine how to turn the blasted thing off, or how to talk to him without Sandy overhearing. I couldn’t let her or the commander think I was crazy on top of everything else. I considered that possibility.

“I haven’t much time,” Morgan said. “My brother hacked your com-link’s auditory implant. Your escape plan failed. Mechs are rounding up the other boys. Your mom’s in danger.”

I froze. I wanted to see Morgan’s face. Yet I didn’t trust all this craziness inside me, as if I wanted more than just to see him. His tone did sound comforting, though, the only really friendly voice since I ran the gauntlet.

Sandy yanked me forward.

“Sorry for being such a bother. I need your help,” Morgan said somewhere inside my skull.

I followed Sandy, shook my head, and mouthed, “No.” As if somehow, he could see that. I’d done my bit. I’d tried to help him escape.

The gravity of my situation sank in. Had Commander Hernandez caught the nurse helping the boys, or connected the escape to Mom? The entire idea had been stupid, a rushed effort because I really liked Morgan, despite having to fight him. I should have had a better plan, but I was not a planner.

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Lance ErlickLance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age. Erlick lives in the Chicago area with his family.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

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Character Profile of Annabelle

How would you feel if you were watched constantly with annoying voices in your head, and they’re real? What would you do if your beliefs were at odds with your restrictive society, and you couldn’t share your innermost fears with anyone? How would you react to an injustice against others, where your involvement will put your life and your family in danger?

These are some of the dilemmas facing sixteen-year-old Annabelle, who rattled around in my head until I wrote her story.

While The Rebel Trap is the second book in the Rebel series, it was written as a standalone story as well, narrated mostly by Annabelle.

She lives in a world where men are exiled, quarantined or forced to fight to the death to train the military elite. She was forced to be a cop intern and when she fought to protect her younger sister, Janine, from a bully, she was arrested, kicked out of high school, and coerced to join the elite Mech Corps that took her parents when she was three. To say she’s a rebel doesn’t begin to cover her angst.

Now, her Mech Corps commander has given her auditory implants and contact cameras so she can watch Annabelle 24/7, and have her spy on her previous police captain. Morgan hacks into her new connections to plead for her help. She could scream, but she didn’t need the added pressure of competing voices in her head, trying to talk her off the ledge.

She’s a pawn in a bigger game, in over her head. The price of failure will be exile from her beloved adoptive family, or death. The fact no one believes she can handle this may be her greatest asset. Can she pull it off?

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(2) $25 Amazon Gift Cards (INT)

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Book Blitz & Review for Branded (Sinners #1)

Genres: YA, Dystopian Fiction, Romance

Purchase on Amazon: Branded (A Sinners Series) | Purchase on B&N

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Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

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Release Day, Review & Giveaway for State of Rebellion (Collapse Series # 3)

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State of Rebellion (Collapse # 3) by Summer Lane

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Publisher: WB Publishing http://writingbellepublishing.com/

Release: January 24th, 2014

Goodreads Link

Genres: YA, NA, Post-apocalyptic, dystopian fiction

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Everything has changed.

After a devastating ambush that left the militia group Freedom Fighters struggling to survive, Cassidy Hart has been lucky to escape with her life.

Along with her Commander and former Navy SEAL Chris Young, she’s made a shocking discovery concerning the whereabouts of her father. The militias have moved further into the mountains. And the secret that is kept there will come with a price.

But when the National Guard arrives, Cassidy is faced with a choice that will force her to decide between friends and family. Omega is getting stronger. The fight for freedom looms on the horizon.

It’s all or nothing.

And Cassidy has no intention of giving up.

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Book Tour & Giveaway for Black Hull

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Black Hull by Joseph A. Turkot

BLACK-HULL-COVER-correct-small1Imagine a distant future where technology’s inexorable advance has halted for all but the richest .1% of humanity. Indigents who still have it fly spaceships that are hundreds of years old, and entreat the help of robots that are relics of the past.

The wealthy, having achieved immortality through science, and secured total power through purchase of all government seats, spread and consume the last resources of the cosmos. The unlucky majority pursue one goal: The generational commitment to buying a ticket into Utopia—the virtual reality program that simulates what in antiquity was known as heaven. Little do they question the mysterious origin and purpose of their gloried destination.

For those who can’t afford to upload their consciousnesses into Utopia, and leave their physical bodies forever behind, there are few options but to live the life of an outlaw.

Eight hundred years in the past, Mick Compton is ripped away through a wormhole into the dystopian future of the Messier 82 galaxy. In a place where the only thing that matters is getting into paradise, he wants only to get back home to his proper place and time, to his wife and family, so that he can right the wrongs of his past. But Sera, a battle-hardened smuggler with plans of her own for him, won’t make it so easy.

And a darker agenda is at play in M82—the terrorist known as The Force of Darkness has reached a terrifying conclusion: Humanity is a virus, whose chance at equilibrium with its environment long ago failed. The only solution is complete extermination of mankind. After decades of surreptitious construction, FOD is nearly ready to detonate a quantum black hole with the power to consume the entire spread of the human race.

Will Mick succumb to the draw of Utopia and forsake his desire to return to a real family? Will FOD pull off the ultimate terrorist act and destroy humanity once and for all? Find out in Black Hull.

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Black Friday Blitz: Giveaway & Guest Post for The Last Bastion of the Living (On Sale for $.99)

I’m looking forward to reading this book and just grabbed my copy since it’s on sale : )  Happy Black Friday, shoppers!

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The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

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Publication date: June 12th 2012
Genres: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction
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The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13581917-the-last-bastion-of-the-living?ac=1

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Cover Reveal for Serving Time (Servants of Time)

Serving Time was first published in May, but the cover has been re-designed. I enjoy reading dystopian literature, so I look forward to reading about Tristan Cross’s journey in this new sci-fi series.

Serving Time Book Cover

Published May 2013

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

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Review of The Testing

The Testing

Purchase on Amazon: The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Book Description (From Amazon)

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

*****

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*****

Book Review

The Testing is a fantastic YA dystopian read that captured my interest from beginning to end.  The setting is in the future, where the United States no longer exists due to The Seven Stages War.  Now there is a new government in place that has divided the remainder of the population into colonies.  In order to go on for higher education, students must be selected as a Testing Candidate. Malencia  or Cia Vale is excited to be chosen, along with three fellow graduating students from Five Colonies to travel to the capitol of Tosu City to undergo the Testing process. Those who pass the four intensive parts of the Test are allowed to move forward and attend the university.  The government has established the Testing in order to find the most qualified future leaders of the country.

As Cia prepares to leave home, a disturbing conversation with her father puts her on alert. Cia’s dad underwent The Testing years ago, although he no longer retains any memories of what happened during the testing process.  His memories were erased. Apparently, this is done to prevent any one candidate from having an edge over the other. However, CIa’s father admits that over the years, he has had haunting dreams about experiences he doesn’t recall, but thinks these are memories that weren’t completely erased and are subconsciously submerging. He gives Cia the ominous warning to trust no one.

Cia is an admirable heroine in this story. She is remarkably intelligent, observant, and resourceful as she struggles to advance to each level of Testing after realizing the seemingly innocuous Test is anything but safe. More importantly, unlike some other candidates , Cia refuses to sacrifice her humanity and compassion for others in order to achieve success. She and former classmate Tomas Endress decide to work as partners as much as possible to support each other in completing the tests. The Testing Officials have created an environment in which the competition is deadly, and sabotage is just part of this sinister endeavor to weed out the weak.  Those who admit weakness or seek out help, never return. Those who fail at each level of the test are never seen again.

There are some parallels to The Hunger Games, and I couldn’t help but to be reminded of this during the field component of the Test, where each person is given a choice of weapons and supplies to help them as they are dropped off in the wilderness and forced to survive the harsh terrain as well protect themselves against candidates who are seeking to eliminate their competition. However, this story has its own unique storyline that is equally engaging.

Throughout the story, Cia was never sure who she could trust, and as the plot progresses, she finds herself second-guessing her choices, as do readers.  During the field test, Cia and Tomas work together to find their way back to the capitol city. In the midst of the danger that surrounds them, their attraction deepens into a romance. Tomas seems like a great guy for Cia, but after the test is over, she discovers secrets that Tomas has been keeping from her. Is he as trustworthy as she thinks?

The cliff-hanger ending was foreshadowed earlier in the story, but, nevertheless, the outcome shocks Cia and will have a significant impact on what she decides to do next. The governmental system is strict, but will Cia be able to follow her destined path?  I look forward to the sequel, The Testing: Independent Study.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau

(From Goodreads Profile)

I am a storyteller at heart. I have performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children’s theatre productions across the Chicagoland area.

While I’m happy to perform for an audience, I am equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use my experience from the stage to create compelling characters on the page. I am the author of the Rebecca Robbins mystery series (Minotaur Books), The Paige Marshall Glee Club mysteries (Berkley) and The Testing YA triology (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
Author Links

Official Website | Goodreads Profile | Twitter

*****

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An ePrequel to The TestingThe Testing Guide  

Free on Amazon!   The TestingGuide

The Testing Guide

Cover Reveal and Book Promo: Empyreal Illusions: Book One of the Inferno Unleashed Series

Empyreal Illusions by Jake Bonsignore (E-Book Small)

Title: Empyreal Illusions: Book One of the Inferno Unleashed Series

AuthorJake Bonsignore

Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopian

Release Date: May 2013 (eBook) / July 2013 (paperback)

Book Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography

Goodreads Link: Empyreal Illusions

Book Description

A THIN LINE SEPARATES JUSTICE FROM REVENGE….

 Fourteen-year-old Breena Taljain’s dreary existence in the slums of Purgaire comes to a sudden end when a chance encounter with a criminal mastermind known as the Patriarch goes horridly wrong. His assault on her for refusing to pay for her mother’s addiction leaves her comatose and teetering on the edge of life and death.

Galbrecht Atalir is a washed-up doctor struggling to overcome his inner demons through alcohol and aggression. He never quite recovered from the unsolved murder of his family seven years prior. When he discovers Breena as his newest patient, he knows at once that the Patriarch is the one who eluded him for almost a decade.

The medicine Galbrecht gives Breena draws her into a heavenly paradise. When it ebbs away, though, the recurring trauma plunges her into treacherous hinterlands. There, Breena must learn to find power in courage, hope, and love to overcome fiends of hatred bent on permanently ending her existence.

With justice burning in his heart, Galbrecht begins a race against time to seek out the Patriarch in the underworld before Breena loses her struggle against the ever-darkening terrors of her mind….

Excerpt from Empyreal Illusions

“Make it two more shots, will you?”

Galbrecht Atalir slid a coin across the counter and watched with unnerving patience as Korvan greedily scooped it up. He tilted his head from side to side until he heard the bones in his neck crack and ran a hand through his greased hair. He had not yet reached his limits. Thirteen hearty gulps of The Laughing Banshee’s strongest whiskey had filled his gut with comfortable warmth. It also made him the center of attention for a handful of unkempt thugs. They knew better than to trouble him, though. They had seen him fight before. All he wanted was to down another half-dozen shots and return to the broken pallet in his shack. It was not too much to ask for, really.

His days had grown increasingly meaningless as of late and his evenings were no better. Sometimes, only the idea of wasting his liver away on the cheap liquor The Laughing Banshee offered kept him going. He could scarcely remember the last time he felt joy or saw beauty in the little things the world had to offer.

The chains that bind us, Galbrecht thought wryly. He casually offered a slight nod of thanks to Korvan as he finally brought more liquor. They have to break eventually.

“Took you long enough, Korvan,” he stated matter-of-factly. He exhaled deeply and let his aggression exude out his pores.

The barkeep shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a busy man. One of my girls walked out on me today and I haven’t found a replacement.”

Galbrecht ignored him and took another shot that sent a river of fire down his belly. Who was he trying to fool? He would forget his past once he started believing in a benevolent God. That, he knew, would never happen. A man did not lose everything as he had and still have conviction. Faith was a clutch for the weak and an excuse for the depraved. No superior being worthy of devotion would have forced thirty-six years of hell upon him.

Each day was typically harder than the last. He was certain he would reach his breaking point soon. What will another day at the hospital bring next?

Galbrecht toiled away in the rundown facility in western Purgaire from sunrise to sunset. The reason for becoming a doctor in the first place grew more indistinct with each passing day. After each shift he retreated into alcoholism. He had long since grown sick of Purgaire and his meaningless existence. Perhaps it was time to give up his mad mission and return to Aghiddo. He was wrong to think he could always stay away.

So that’s your answer? You will accept defeat and crawl back there? Pitiful!

Aghiddo was the place where his spirit had died almost a decade ago. Life had ceased to have any purpose for him then. Would it be any different this time around?

I doubt it.

Galbrecht exhaled deeply and drank from the other shot glass. Liquor was the only panacea for his troubling memories. Deep down, he knew that he could not push them aside forever. No amount of alcohol amended the past. Bringing dozens of the sick and wounded back from the brink of death did not, either. There was just something about tending to the infirm that made moving on impossible.

He had not always been this way, though. Once he had looked forward to a promising future. He had had a loving wife, two beautiful daughters, and a cozy home. What more could one ask for? Like most good things, though, his comfortable life in Aghiddo came to a terrible, sudden end seven years ago. He could not forget that fateful moment when he returned from work to find his home ransacked and the halls saturated with blood….

Something inside Galbrecht—then, Ghariel Lodan—snapped that day. His conviction in the world had crumbled. How could it be otherwise when his family perished under torture? Nobody deserved such a fate. Was he supposed to accept his losses and move on? Facing reality had never been harder. He had kissed Adine goodbye earlier that morning; who would have known that his wife would be a broken ragdoll just hours later? His daughters had not fared better, either. Jaila and her younger sister, Relyn, had always been so energetic. To see their fragile limbs bent at humanly impossible angles had been scarring.

Even now, reminiscing threatened to push him into an outrage.

A blunt object had crushed their bones and organs. A closer inspection of their welts and fractures told Galbrecht it was a chain. The mere thought of how they had suffered still sent shivers down his spine. Whoever had killed them had purposely dragged it out.

The constables had ceased the investigation after a few weeks. They told him the lack of evidence made it pointless. Why waste their time on a case when there was nothing for them to gain in return? Favors did not come free anywhere. He was mad to think otherwise, they insisted. Of course, that was their excuse for everything. Life goes on, they had said.

The hell it does, he recalled replying. They were not there when he cremated his family and scattered their ashes in the quiet lake where Adine had agreed to marry him. The constables did not have to live with the guilt of being apart in their darkest hour. He had vowed that proper justice would be his.

His quest to find the truth soon became a maddening obsession. He began to roam the streets at night and created an alternate persona to blend in with the seedy underworld of Aghiddo. He swore to find the answers the constables refused to seek out. Until he did, his family would never rest in peace.

Of course, it was not long before the callous, ruthless facade he had created became one with the man he had been in years past.

I’ve embraced darkness to find light and lost my way within.

“Give me two more, Korvan.”

Hear me, wherever you are. I will find you. ‘Why’ doesn’t matter anymore. You can’t elude me for eternity. Someday…someday I’ll climb out of this rut and hunt you anew.

“I said two more.”

Galbrecht glared at him icily and partially rose off his seat. Korvan’s refusal to listen made his blood boil. His stormy demeanor screamed violence.

Korvan sniveled but did exactly as the doctor commanded. He never turned down coins.

“You’ll be reusing the same glasses. Too bad if you don’t like it.”

He threw a silver onto the bar counter. “Oh? And why is that?”

Korvan nodded and began to pour the liquor. “I told you before. One of my girls walked out on me and I’m too busy to make things pretty for you. It’s all going to the same place, so what does it matter?” He paused and rubbed his chin worrisomely. “She’ll see what a mistake it was to walk out that door. She’ll come crying for me to take her back and I won’t.”

Galbrecht ignored him. He finished the trio of shots in rapid succession and sat in silence as more recollections resurfaced. Why? Just give me solace for one evening! Seven years since his family’s horrid butchering had passed without reward, the last three of which he had whittled away in Purgaire. Failure greeted him at every corner. Closure eluded him.

His obsession on finding the one that murdered his family had consumed his life. Eventually, the despair of his countless failures nearly drove him insane. How could someone disappear without a trace?

You’ve given up. You let Purgaire smother you.

Galbrecht ignored the voice of reason and let his memories wash over him again.

Empyreal Illusions by Jake Bonsignore (Wrap)

About the Author

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I have been writing since I was in grade school and had my first novel, Descendant of Strife, published in 2007. It is about an orphaned sorcerer who learns dark secrets of his past that end up entangling him in a secret war between heaven and hell that spans nearly half a millennium.

Becoming an author always been a dream of mine since as far back as I can remember. I think it started, though, with a brief writing exercise I was given in kindergarten. We were supposed to write a two to three sentence story (or maybe a paragraph) to do with Easter. I ended up writing a little over a page. Yep…go figure.

I ended up graduating high school when I was 16 years old and attending St. John’s University in New York for a while. Then I moved to Florida and graduated from the University of South Florida with Magna Cum Laude honors and a BS degree in Business Administration.

I’ve recently completed my 2nd and 3rd novels, Empyreal Illusions and Awakening the Fire (YA fantasy). They are part of The Inferno Unleashed series.

“It takes courage to live, yes, but it takes true bravery to stand your ground in a world aligned against you.”

At one point or another, everybody inevitably feels that they are bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders and their back is giving in. For Breena Taljain, the central protagonist of Empyreal Illusions, it’s as commonplace of a feeling as breathing. Surprisingly enough, the idea for it came to me while I was sitting in the university library before a final exam. I remember writing the first five pages instead of studying but somehow managed to pull off a good grade anyway!

Now I am getting ready to begin my fourth novel, which will be set in an entirely different universe than Empyreal Illusions. It will be a YA romance with a tinge of fantasy. Stay tuned  🙂

Of course, I love reading as much as I do writing. Outside of my literary pursuits, though, I enjoy playing sports and I’m a fitness enthusiast. There’s nothing that a good workout can’t help solve!

Thanks for your support and for being part of the adventure (and what a one it is and will be)!!!

Author Contact Links

Facebookfacebook.com/jakebonsignoreauthor

Twitter: twitter.com/jakebonsignore

Websitehttp://jakebonsignore.wordpress.com

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Purchase on Amazon:Descendant of Strife: Book One of The Swiftblade Saga

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Review of Defect

Book Cover

Purchase from Amazon: Defect

Defect by Ryann Kerekes

Book Description (from Amazon)

Locked in the mental ward on her sixteenth birthday, Eve Sterling doesn’t think things can get any worse. They can. After failing the mindscan procedure that predicts future crime, she’s deemed a Defect and subjected to endless psychological and physical testing as the government tries to determine what’s different about her.

The one bright spot is military guard, Will. He’s gentle with her when no one’s watching and suppresses a smile whenever she defies their challenges. Will’s lessons begin to dance dangerously close to knowledge she shouldn’t possess, like what’s beyond the fenced compound. Though it’s forbidden and Will would be killed on the spot if they’re discovered, they steal away moments together. With her very life on the line, Eve has to decide if she can trust the guard she’s falling for.

DEFECT, young adult romance takes place in the near-future.

It is a survivalist love story.

Book Review

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Welcome to the future where “The Medical Revolution” has created a segregated society that categorizes citizens into a new social stratus:   “Sleeper,” “Reject,” and the rare “Defect.” Technology has enabled the government to perform a “mindscan” on all individuals when they turn sixteen. The purpose of the mindscan is to identify individuals who have a criminal mindset, mental disorders, or medical diseases and to isolate them from the general population.

Now, forty years after the revolution, students are taught that “removing flawed humans from the mating pool…is a way to cleanse society of both mentally inadequate beings.”  The results of your mindscan determine your place in society. Sleepers are deemed fit for society, while Rejects are sent to military training. Defects, well, the government doesn’t want to recognize Defects, but those rare few identified as such are locked away where they undergo further testing.  Those unfortunate few who are not categorized as Sleepers lose their freedoms and can never return to their families or the life they once had.

When the story opens, it’s Eve Sterling’s “sweet sixteen” birthday, and she is accompanied by her mother to have the required mindscan. We experience the events of the story from Eve’s point-of-view, and this is effective in allowing us to care about Eve along her journey. By only having Eve’s perspective, the author kept my interest because I was never certain of who Eve could trust. When she chooses to confide in another character, I found myself cringing, wondering if that was a wise decision.

As Eve undergoes the procedure, her thoughts center around her mother’s advice: “Guard your mind.”

girl getting mindscan

Eve’s results indicate that she is a Defect.  At first she doesn’t understand what that means, since there are only two well-established categories: Sleepers and Rejects. Talk of Defects is kept hushed.  She later learns that to be labeled a Defect means that the mindscan failed to read her mind. Eve, finally, begins to see the significance of her situation and the potential threat she poses to the government:

“Their technology didn’t work on me-I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t a criminal-but rather than admit that I’d somehow outsmarted them, they chose to lock me up and throw away the key. It fills me with rage.”

Initially, Eve spends her time either being tested or taking medication that forces her to sleep or just zone out.

girl stuck in room

Will is a trainer for Rejects who are forced into the military training program.  Early on, it is obvious that he sees something in Eve.  Aware of her current, dismal existence, he helps her by  persuading  his superior, O’Donovan, to allow Eve to train with them.

O’Donovan and Will appear to doubt her abilities, since her physicality immediately puts her at a disadvantage.  She’s slightly over five-feet in height and weights around 100 lbs. Eve is aware that “… neither of them believes I can actually do this-become a fearless soldier-but I desperately want the chance to prove them wrong.”

Thus, Eve begins rigorous training for which she is grossly under prepared. She is immediately thrown into the midst of a training program where others are far ahead of her in their skill level.

girl climbing rope                             slogging through mud      woman running obstacle course   women in training military

As Eve struggles to complete the training, she must deal with some unexpected obstacles:

guy fighting girl                           wolf attack 2

Will is a formidable trainer who easily intimidates the new recruits. However, he takes a special interest in Eve, helping her outside of the group’s training routine. He spends extra time training with Eve, taking her hiking in wooded areas, and teaching her survival skills.

man teaching woman to shoot

Eve is skeptical of Will at first: Will is “the one person here…who seems to be looking out for me, and I still haven’t figured out his motive.” Even with doubts, Eve senses that he is a good person. She admits,  “…his gaze could level you, and when he’s standing close, it’s like all the air’s been sucked from the room. Intense? Yes. But I’ve never felt scared of him.” Will is a strong, silent hero who keeps Eve guessing about his feelings toward her.  At times, the intense attraction between the two is so overwhelming, I squirmed reading about it, especially the scene with Bad Company playing “Feel Like Makin Love” in the background.

Through their time together, Eve and Will fall for each other. The first time Will kisses Eve in the privacy of his dorm room, she exclaims,

“Will floods my senses. Just his physical presence overwhelms me. The stubble on his jaw, the feel of his strong hands against me, it’s all completely new and electrifying. “

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Eve is an impressive heroine in the book. At the age of sixteen, she is forced into situations that she never imagined. Her world has been shattered, but she refuses to allow others to break her either emotionally or physically. She endures and conquers every obstacle set before her.  Unfortunately, her success only puts her in greater danger. Rena, one of the guards who is sympathetic to Eve’s situation, warns her: “You are flaunting their failure with you right in their faces. And trust me, people are noticing.”

Once Will and Eve become aware that Eve is in imminent danger, they make a plan for Eve’s escape.  Will is willing to put his own life at risk by helping Eve. He wants to save her life, and she wants to save his by persuading him to leave with her.  His decision to leave is questionable. But Eve has no choice if she wants to survive.

The suspense builds as Eve seeks to escape and find safety with a group of Radicals, individuals who escaped during the revolution to live apart from society in the wilderness.  Can Eve stay strong if she leaves Will behind? Can they find their way back to each other?

kissing couple in dark sneaky

Can the government continue with their illusion of promising a better way of life?

with dystopian side of news

The conclusion of the story was unexpected for me. I really expected more of a descriptive and developed resolution. There is so much material for expansion, and, before I reached the end, I just knew there would be a sequel. However the author chose an epilogue to wrap up the story. Readers who dislike books with cliff-hangers will probably find this a satisfactory conclusion.

Adults and young adults (YA’s) can appreciate the provocative questions explored in this book, regarding governmental control and individual freedom.  As I read, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between this government and the German dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, who wanted to eliminate “flawed” individuals from society to create a superior Aryan race.  I can’t help but think of the well-known quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana.

Rating:

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About Ryann Kerekes

Official Website of Ryann Kerekes

Goodreads Profile

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Ryann Kerekes has a suggested song playlist  for the book on her website; however,  here are some songs that came to mind as I read this book:

Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb (Live 8)”

Bad Company “Feel Like Makin Love” –can’t forget this one!

Iced Earth “Dystopia (Official Video)”

“Enter the nightmare, this future does implore,

A techno city state, a prison nothing more.”

                                    ***

“With our technology, we’ll always keep you safe.”

****

Future past signs pick one

From the mouths of babes:

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